Monday, May 19, 2014

How to Eat Healthy on the Road

Living in Milwaukee puts us about an equal distance from both sides of our family. This means lots of road trips that are at least 7 hours. We travel plenty in the winter, but with summer coming up, we'll be hitting the road even more.

In the past, we've resorted to fast food because it's just that. Fast. But about 30 minutes after eating, we always felt a little groggy and tired. Probably not the best combination when you're got another couple of hours on the road to go. That means gas station coffee to stay awake...

I've also noticed that when we eat fast food, we tend to eat worse once we get where we're headed. Not being in control of the food is nice because it's more relaxing, but there's also more treats lying around.

The better we eat up to our arrival, the better chance we have of making good choices the rest of the trip. Whenever we eat gluten or sugar (our biggest triggers), we tend to jump down the rabbit hole and don't escape until we're back home, away from temptation.

And when eating gluten and sugar make you feel groggy and sinus-y, it doesn't make for the most enjoyable vacation.

A few months ago I decided I'd had enough (after a particularly rough weekend away) and was going to pack our food for our next trip.

I usually try to use up what's in the fridge so they don't go bad. If there are leftovers that are fine to eat when cold, I'll bring those, otherwise, my default is chicken salad. Any fruits or vegetables I can cut up and throw in a bag are quick and easy.

The return trip is usually a little trickier because you don't have your own fridge and pantry to raid. That's usually when we'll stop at a grocery store on the way out of town. Even the smallest grocery store will have healthier options than your favorite fast food joint.

The deli can be hit-or-miss, depending on the store, and we usually have better luck scouring the produce department and meat and cheese coolers.

Of course, a good cooler is essential. And don't forget silverware! I always have plastic in the car, so that's a great thing to keep in your glove box.

Trying to bring foods that are most similar to a "meal at home" is the best way to go. Think about a protein (chicken, salmon, eggs...), healthy fat (olives, fish, homemade ranch), as well as some finger foods (fruit and veggies). Don't forget things to drink! If you're used to mostly drinking water, it's completely fine to stick with that, but I like to bring at least one "fun" beverage such as kombucha or kefir.

Here's some easy ideas:

Chicken salad (eat with a fork or wrap in lettuce/cabbage leaves)
Salmon salad (served similar to chicken salad)
Egg salad -if you can handle the smell :)
Grass-fed, organic salami
Sardines (for the most adventurous)
Carrot sticks
Grape tomatoes
Plain yogurt and berries
Grass-fed or raw cheese
Homemade ranch dip for veggies
Milk kefir
Water kefir
Lots of water

*Not really for eating, but kind of important to keep things cold!

What about you? I'm sure some of you have even more experience than me! I'd love to hear what works for you!


  1. I totally agree with you and your choice of food for a happy road trip.

    1. Thanks! It sure makes me feel better :)

  2. I remember you kids were starved by the time we hit the corner coming out of Mohawk!!!! I think I passed food nonstop till we got to grandmas!!!

    1. It feels nonstop with just one kid, so I can't imagine (actually, I can remember sitting in the bench behind you and getting interrupted about every 5 seconds to pass something back)...


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